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Finding background information before writing your lab report is important, especially if you are unfamiliar with the subject area. Background information will give you a stronger foundation and understanding that will help you complete your writing assignments. Reference sources provide background information, which often includes:
A broad overview of the subject
Definitions of the topic
An introduction to key issues
Names of people who are authorities in the subject field
Major dates and events
Keywords and subject-specific vocabulary terms that can be used for database searches
Bibliographies that lead to additional resources
LSU Libraries has reference sources, such as online encyclopedias, covering many topics in the sciences. Because reference sources provide an overview of the topic, you will feel better prepared to discuss and to write about the topic and the general issues surrounding it after reading them.